Aerea is just a baby start-up with a lot of passion and a lot of promise. Talk about micro-winery, currently production is hovering around 160 cases total.
Founder Ian Burrows has been consumed by hospitality, food, and wine his entire adult life. He has worked as a wine director, a sommelier, a chef, and a restaurant owner, in settings as far afield as Paris, London, San Francisco, and Adelaide. Since 2007 he has worked as both a consulting and full-time sommelier in Michelin-starred restaurants, earning his Advanced Certificate from the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2009. More recently he served as Wine Director for Dominique Crenn at Atelier Crenn, San Francisco; then drawn to Oregon to assume the role of Director of Sales at Antica Terra.
Clearly, he has an illustrious background in wine service – and is now reaching into the world of wine production. And with great success I would say. His unique perspective coming from the table-side world of where wine is consumed, I believe, is helping guide his hand in a quest to create wines that stand out without screaming out. Wines that accentuate rather than permeate.
The Crucible is a remarkable wine considering the youth of the label. A blend of Gamay Noir and Pinot Noir grapes, one could think of it as a new-world version of a Passetoutgrain. Overall the impression is of ripe strawberries, raspberries and dusty minerality. The Gamay gives it a stunning rose-petal essence in both the color and aroma. The Pinot bulks up the foundation with some darker red fruit and base notes of beetroot and Patchouli. Acidity is lively but balanced and remarkably integrated. The wine finishes with a slow earthy fade and really is asking for a thoughtful pairing with a savory poultry dish. I can just picture the synergy it would create with herbs de Provence or rubbed sage.
In his own words:
Founded in 2016, Aerea Vintners started as a research-based project to better understand the complexities of an independently operated winery. Aerea’s mantra is to perform at the highest possible level given the constraints of a cellar void of technology, winemaking chemicals or scientific equipment. This has inspired a goal to attain the ultimate level of detail in a traditional environment. Every component of winemaking is considered a step toward a greater understanding of commercialization and creation of fine wine in Oregon.
Aerea releases are based on the Gamay noir Au jus Blanc grape variety selected for its juicy, sappy, naturally mineral complexities and ethereal nature.